Industry News

TMCNet:  Digital Production Companies are Turning to Social Media to Spur Growth

[December 03, 2018]

Digital Production Companies are Turning to Social Media to Spur Growth

NEW YORK, December 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

Last year, global box-office sales reached an all-time high, growing by 3% to USD 39.9 Billion, according to comScore. Although U.S. box office sales slightly lagged behind, stronger international sales helped boost overall sale growth year over year. Despite U.S. markets slowing down, movie production companies are looking to reshape their businesses to promote robust growth. Many content developers have now looked towards tapping into social computing tools such as branding, marketing, broad-based knowledge management initiatives and recruitment to help grow sales. According to data compiled by Technavio, the global digital content market is projected to incrementally grow by USD 282.3 Billion from 2018 to 2023. It is also expected to record a CAGR of 10% through the forecast period. Social media is playing a large part within the marketing aspect of the digital content industry. Production companies look to market their latest films and movies on social media platforms to attract new audiences. The Wonderfilm Media Corporation (OTC: WDRFF), Ideanomics, Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK), IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX)

Major growth opportunities will come from the Asia-Pacific region, which has prompted many companies to establish themselves internationally. According to Technavio's research, the Asia-Pacific region will contribute to approximately 41% of the global digital content growth. The digital content market is also rapidly expanding due to consumers now spending more on theatrical and home entertainment systems, according to Motion Picture Association of America. The driving factor is partly a growing use of online streaming services, where users can watch on their mobile devices or simply at home. Despite streaming services growing heavily, there is still a large demand for movies internationally. "Going to the movies is truly a worldwide phenomenon," said comScore's Paul Dergarabedian, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "The big screen experience was bolstered by a unique and compelling slate of titles in 2017 that sparked an exceptional level of enthusiasm by patrons who flocked to movie theaters around the globe."

The Wonderfilm Media Corporation (OTC: WDRFF) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol (TSX-V: WNDR). Earlier yesterday, the Company announced breaking news that, "on November 19, 2018 it has entered into a letter of intent to acquire 100% of Starbury Media ("Starbury") from Sun Seven Stars Investments Group ("SSSI"), 34% of Grapevine Logic Inc. ("Grapevine") and a slate of over twenty-five movie production script packages from WOL Productions Inc.("Production Packages") in an arm's length transaction for CAD$30,000,000 (the "Transaction").

Starbury, the sporting brand and media company co-founded by Dr.Bruno Wu and Stephan Marbury, provides immediate access to a network of elite, high profile athletes and sports personalities who aim to capitalize on and transcend their sporting success by developing their personal brand through acting roles, branding services, merchandising and events.

Starbury's Fighting Group, a fighting sports digital asset operation company and division of Starbury Media, will kickstart fighters and action stars by working together in media, led by its recently appointed Chairman and legendary Canadian & British boxing champion Lennox Lewis.

Grapevine, the world's leading end-to-end social media influencer marketing platform, will leverage Wonderfilm's original content and pursue monetization strategies with celebrity influencers by penetrating the loyalty management market exclusively for motion pictures, TV production and sports media. Grapevine now has the production outlet necessary to bring their 4,700 corporate brands into broader media channels, while Wonderfilm has direct advertising, marketing, analytics and alternative distribution channels for its own original content.

Additionally, a slate of over twenty-five movie and TV series (English and Chinese language) production script packages will be provided by WOL Productions Inc. (majority owned by SSSI), which includes the action thriller, "Ana", starring Gong Li with Martin Campbell attached as the Director.Given that some of these assets are already fully packaged, Wonderfilm is able to immediately begin the pre-selling process.

Combining Starbury, Grapevine and the Production Packages with Wonderfilm's worldwide film & television production strength, increases the Company's vertical and horizontal integration into the wider entertainment industry. Wonderfilm's new subscription video on demand ("SVOD") digital channels will be among the first beneficiaries of the unified companies, immediately gaining top tier access to the sports market, significant social media coverage, corporate advertising, sponsorship revenues and exclusive Grapevine content.

'We are executing Wonderfilm's strategy of becoming an entertainment and media innovator by combining social media, film & TV production, online applications and new branding sources to integrate viewers and fans to their media through continuous online engagement and cross-pollination of media consumers through branded Apps, AI and cutting-edge interactive features that seamlessly blend online interaction with premier broadcasts on the digital channel, which includes the launch of Wonderfilm's new digital movie channel expected in 2019,' stated Kirk Shaw, CEO of Wonderfilm.

Dr.Bruno Wu, co-chairman and CEO of SSSI remarked, 'We believe that the combination of these platforms, which include our asset digitization and artificial intelligence teams, will differentiate us in the marketing and advertising business. Global sport is increasing in unison with the entertainment and media space, so it is natural for us to join these arms and create synergies that are extremely beneficial for all ivolved to provide a truly unique, scalable and superior offering to the market.'

About The Wonderfilm Media Corporation: Wonderfilm is a leading publicly traded (TSX Venture Exchange: WNDR) entertainment company with production offices in Los Angeles, corporate offices in Vancouver BC and its Asian distribution office in Seoul, South Korea. The Company's core business is producing market-driven independent feature films and quality television series for multi-platform global exploitation. Current productions include the feature films, Moose (staring John Travolta) and Primal (starring Nicolas Cage.) The Company's guiding philosophy is bringing new financing solutions to an entertainment industry increasingly looking for funding and co-production alternatives. Wonderfilm is a producer and distributor only for the projects disclosed. The legal ownership of movie productions are held in a special purpose legal entity held at arm's length to the Company to facilitate for the qualification of various levels of domestic and foreign government tax credit incentives that are customary in the film and production business."

Ideanomics, Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) is a global technology company focused on digital asset production and distribution. Ideanomics, Inc. (formerly called Seven Stars Cloud, Inc.) (SSC) recently announced its acquisition of Grapevine Logic Inc., a world leading end-to-end influencer marketing platform. Grapevine will play a pivotal role in SSC's consumer asset digitization strategy. This acquisition is integrally linked with SSC's 4+2+1 Strategy to drive growth across its core product areas which are-1) Fixed Income-based Financial Digital Assets, 2) Consumer Tech Digital Assets, 3) Commodity and Energy Digital Assets, and 4) TradeTech Digital Assets. "We are very excited to welcome Grapevine and its robust and vibrant network of influencers and brands to the SSC family," said Bruno Wu, Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Ideanomics. "We believe Grapevine's existing global ecosystem will be the foundation for a broad application of blockchain technologies throughout the media and entertainment industry and be the cornerstone of our consumer digital asset business line. We look forward to working closely with Grapevine's team to expand the platform, enhance the interactions between the participants and help identify and compensate major up-and-coming stars."

Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) creates incredible technology and entertainment that connects millions of people to the moments and experiences that matter most. Comcast NBCUniversal recently announced the 10 startups selected for the inaugural Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars. These startups were chosen through a global application process targeting startups who are developing the next generation of media, entertainment, and connectivity companies. They will call Comcast NBCUniversal's global headquarters in Philadelphia home for the duration of the 13-week program, which kicked off today and will culminate in a Demo Day on October 11. Over the course of the program, startups will refine and test their business models while leveraging one-on-one mentoring from experts across Comcast NBCUniversal's businesses, including the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, film studios, cable networks, Comcast Ventures, and Xfinity products and services, as well as Techstars' mentors with deep industry, investment, and entrepreneurship experience. "We are thrilled with the interest in our first accelerator in partnership with Techstars as evidenced by the hundreds of applications from a diverse pool of startups from around the world." said Sam Schwartz Chief Business Development Officer, Comcast

Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK) is a leading domestic and international motion picture exhibitor, operating 541 theatres with 6,014 screens in 41 U.S. states, Brazil, Argentina and 13 other Latin American countries as of September 30, 2018. Cinemark Holdings, Inc. recently announced the launch of Movie Club gifting, a new feature of its unique monthly movie membership program. Movie Club memberships and credits are now available in packages ranging from one to 12 months just in time for the holiday shopping season. Movie Club customers enjoy exclusive benefits including ticket and concession discounts, waived online fees and rollover tickets. "We are excited to provide a new way to give the gift of movies this holiday season through our successful Movie Club program," said Cinemark Chief Executive Officer Mark Zoradi. "With blockbuster films like The Grinch, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, BumbleBee, Aquaman and many more hitting the big screen, there will be something special for everyone this time of the year."

IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX), an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take you beyond the edge of your seat to a world you've never imagined. Sony Pictures and IMAX Corporation recently announced that the companies have extended their ongoing partnership with a new, multi-picture deal. Following the record-breaking first weekend release of Sony Pictures' Venom, which reached USD 15.4 Million on IMAX screens and overall, became the biggest October global opening weekend at USD 207.0 Million, the agreement also includes the IMAX release of several upcoming, highly-anticipated Sony Pictures feature films, including Spider-Man: Far From Home starring Tom Holland, set for a July 5, 2019 release, the upcoming Men in Black spinoff out on June 14, 2019 and the sequel to the 2017 hit, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle out on December 13, 2019. The IMAX release of each film will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX EXPERIENCE® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-Mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX's customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.

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